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New-gen ULC handset platform unveiled

Posted: 22 Jan 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ULC platform handset? platform one-chip? ultralow handset cost?

A few weeks ahead of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Infineon Technologies AG has announced a new generation of its ultralow-cost (ULC) handset platform along with a highly integrated one-chip solution for this type of handsets. The device marks Infineon's changeover to external foundry production as a consequence of its fab-lite strategy.

The XGOLD110 features support for color displays, MP3 playback, USB charging functions and an integrated FM broadcast receiver. The XMM110 low-cost platform, which is tailored around the XGOLD110, is based on a four-layer PCB; Infineon claims it helps to reduce BOM cost by 20 percent compared with the company's existing entry-level platforms based on the XGOLD101 and XGOLD102. Likewise, the platform is said to reduce design cycles for mobile handset OEMs to three to four months.

102 vs. 110
The XGOLD110 offers rather similar features compared with the XGOLD102. However, while the 102 offers only support for a separate FM radio receiver chip, this functionality is integrated in the 110. In addition, the 102 is designed and manufactured in 130nm geometries while the 110 uses 65nm geometries. This has consequences for the place where the device is manufactured: While the 102 is build on Infineon's own production lines, the 110 is made by an unspecified foundry partner. Since Infineon has announced to outsource production for all devices with 65nm geometries and less, the 102 thus could become one of the last mobile handset devices produced in the company's fabs.

Production of the predecessor devices will continue for the time being. According to the vendor, the 101 in particular is very popular among customersthe company claims it hitherto has sold more than 100 million units of this entry-level device and the chip is said to be the de-facto standard for the entry-level handset class, particularly in emerging markets.

In the mean term, however, it can be expected that the XGOLD110 gradually will displace the 101 when customer requirements even for entry-level handsets start to grow towards higher functionality.

The XGOLD110 and the XMM110 are scheduled to be available in Q2 with volume production to start in the 2H 09.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times Europe

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